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Back 4 Blood Gameplay And Reviews

Back 4 Blood is a thrilling cooperative first-person shooter from the creators of the critically acclaimed Left 4 Dead franchise. Back 4 Blood recaptures the tempo of 2009, where I'm lining up headshots by the dozen while I shoot the shit with friends. Turtle Rock has faithfully resurrected the fun, heart-pumping zombie slaying that others have only attempted. Just making an unambitious Left 4 Dead 3 would've been enough for me, but Back 4 Blood is also a deck builder, a looter, a hero shooter, and even a bit of a roguelite. It's a game that Turtle Rock couldn't have made 10 years ago, and it's the addition of these smart, modern ideas that make it great. Right from the jump, Back 4 Blood flips the premise of Left 4 Dead on its head. You're no longer average-joe survivors scrambling to escape crumbling cities. You're zombie-killing mercenaries who hunt down infestations, rescue trapped civilians, and gather supplies for surviving settlements. Each bundle of levels begins with your party leaving the safety of the Fort Hope hub world to go look for trouble. It's kinda like skipping straight to later seasons of The Walking Dead in which everyone still alive is a superhuman murder machine. This describes Back 4 Blood's Cleaners, eight tough characters with unique stat bonuses for themselves and the entire team.

These aren't Overwatch heroes with splashy ultimate abilities, but the Cleaners do invite interesting, slightly different playstyles Holly is a melee specialist who earns stamina back on each kill, Hoffman carries an extra grenade and gives the whole team more ammo, and Mom gets a free revive once per mission. As I mentioned in my initial impressions, I've enjoyed maining Doc for most of my runs. Not only can she use medkits faster and heal everyone for free, but she also starts with the M9 pistol and MP5, two of my favorite guns. Picking a survivor in Left 4 Dead is mostly about whose voice quips you'd like to hear. Back 4 Blood's Cleaners quickly won me over, not because they have a ton of personality, but because it's fun to play a specific role in this sort of game. Even more depth emerged once I started combining Cleaner abilities with the game's other standout mechanicdeckbuilding. Back 4 Blood's main campaign is a pretty long stretch of around 30 levels. There are a few stinkers, particularly the briefer finale missions that end each Act, but the majority go big on Left 4 Dead's linear level design. City streets and spooky forests are denser and there are more avenues to break off and explore. Scavenging for an extra minute before leaving an area often rewarded us with extra Copper, ammo caches, or better guns. But we couldn't meander forever many missions have an on-screen timer warning when the next horde will arrive. The diversity of Back 4 Blood's missions feels like a direct response to the common Left 4 Dead criticism that it wasn't long enough. The card system gives the maps slightly different looks with Corruption Cards that modify the world and zombie behavior. One run may be foggy, or have armored zombies, or zombies with exploding heads, or more security doors that trigger alarms. I'm a big fan of these random mutators, though these exploding head zombies keep cramping my melee playstyle. The further you progress in the campaign, the meaner they get. By Act 3, the AI director was throwing sprinting zombies at us that deal double damage and leave acid behind. Uncool. I've spent most of my time so far on the lowest, default Recruit difficulty usually playing with at least one friend. The first two acts were pretty breezy and fun the perfect amount of challenge for when you just wanna turn your brain off and de-brain some Ridden. Playing the Ridden is a lot more fun, because of the whole 'being wildly overpowered' thing, but the arenas are so small that it's hard to ever catch a breath and plan your next move. You're better off running straight into a cluster of Cleaners at the same time as your teammates and hoping for the best. It's good for a few laughs, but not much else. Swarm sits in stark contrast to the thrill of limping half-dead into a safe room just as a Hunter is leaping at your face. Left 4 Dead leveraged the strength of its campaigns in Versus, and it's a wonder why Back 4 Blood hasn't done the same. Thankfully, Back 4 Blood is a big game and Swarm isn't its heart and soul, but if PvP was the main appeal of Left 4 Dead for you, Swarm will just ruin your day. It speaks to how strong of a game Back 4 Blood is that one of its modes can suck so hard that it barely detracts from my overall fun. Back 4 Blood is its co-op campaign, and it's best played with friends. That's how I'd recommend you play it as well if you're able (it's on Game Pass and has crossplay, if that helps). It's definitely not the same with randos and bots, but the ping system does help bridge the communication gap if mics aren't plugged in. I'm lucky to have played Back 4 Blood the way it's meant to be, because it's some of the best co-op fun I've ever had in a videogame. And while it's a bummer that Back 4 Blood likely won't have the same mod support that spawned incredible player-made content in Left 4 Dead 2 (it is a live service game in 2021, after all), I'm excited to see what's ahead on Turtle Rock's annual pass. Apparently there's a new story, Cleaners, and special Ridden types on the way. Count me in.

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